LDA has issued formal positions on the following topics:
To access LDA’s Core Principles, click here.
A Statement on Statewide Assessment During the Covid Pandemic
During the 2019-2020 school year, schools closed shortly before statewide assessment had occurred in most states. As a result, testing requirements were waived by the United States Department of Education. In September of this year, the U.S. Secretary of Education notified districts that statewide assessment would proceed this year. The coronavirus continues to disrupt education, and school officials are worried that they will not be able to conduct statewide assessments. There have been questions about whether states can or should apply for waivers of the testing requirements. Civil rights and advocacy groups are justifiably concerned that two years without testing data would endanger the ability to monitor and support the students who are most at-risk. Read the full statement here.
Letter to State Directors of Special Education
As the start of the school year draws near, more and more school districts are determining that the safest option for the students and the professionals that serve them is to remain closed to in-person instruction. With the spread of the virus clearly not under control this is certainly understandable. What is less understandable is the continued delay of evaluations and reevaluations. Read the full letter here.
Inconsistency in Evaluation and Identification: LDA’s Follow-up to the GAO’s Report on Child Find
Since IDEA assigns Child Find responsibilities to the state level, there is no uniformity in how students are identified besides minimum criteria outlined by IDEA. As of 2016, the percentage of children aged 6 through 21, state by state, that were provided special education ranged from 6.4 percent to 15.1 percent throughout (GAO, 2019). Concerns about identification and evaluation are frequently noted by advocates and at times. As an organization advocating for the rights of all individuals with learning disabilities, the Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDA) often assists parents who are finding their requests for evaluation of their child going unanswered. LDA is aware that both over and under-identification of minority students for special education is problematic across the nation. Read the full report here.
STORIES FROM THE TESTING ROOM – High School Equivalency Exams: Accessibility of Accommodations for Persons with Learning Disabilities
The HSEE Report first provides a brief outline of the current law on testing accommodations and “high stakes” tests. Then it provides information on a recent report prepared for the U.S. Department of Labor on high school equivalency exams. And, lastly the HSEE Report presents a description of the process of applying for accommodations as seen from the point-of-view of test applicants with a learning disability, and the adult education professionals and evaluators who work with them. Read the full report here.
Third Grade Reading Laws
Over the last dozen years, more than 30 states have passed third grade reading laws. These laws set standards on how well students must be performing in reading to move on to fourth grade. In most states, these laws apply to all students, including students with learning and attention issues who are struggling with reading. Recognizing this, LDA and NCLD came together to create an infographic and a set of best practices to help parents and policymakers make informed decisions about third grade reading laws and better understand the issue of grade retention.
Transition planning and services for adults with learning disabilities (LD) enrolled in adult basic education (ABE), literacy and GED programs must be of paramount importance. There must be adequate planning, services and support to assist students with LD to transition from ABE programs to postsecondary and work environments.
The background and reason for the White Paper became apparent when the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Statute was published in 2004. Members of the LDA Board of Directors were pleased that the definition of Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD) remained intact. But when the Regulations were published in 2006, it was surprising to find that the SLD evaluation criteria and identification criteria were no longer aligned with the SLD definition in IDEA.
Right to an Evaluation of a Child for Special Education Services Parents who are aware their child is having a difficult time with reading, mathematics, written expression or other aspects of school work might suspect that the child has a learning disability (LD), also known as specific learning disabilities, and may be in need of special education services. As a parent, guardian or advocate, you have a legal right to request that your public school evaluate your child for special education.
Response to Intervention (RTI) has far reaching implications for children with SLD. It is imperative that LDA responds to this initiative, supporting those components of RTI which can benefit individuals with Specific Learning Disabilities and identifying other components that are not in their best interest.
LDA strongly supports efforts to eliminate violence in American schools. LDA agrees that students, including students with learning disabilities, whose violent behavior is a danger to themselves or others must be immediately removed from the current school setting. LDA also supports current law which ensures that students with learning disabilities so removed remain entitled to a free appropriate public education, as provided through the Individualized Education Program process.